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The Beatles' 'Help!' Gets a Classical Tribute with Reproductions of 'Blackbird,' 'Here Comes the Sun' and More

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on May 25, 2014 02:03 PM EDT

It's a popular fact: George Martin coined himself the composer on most of the Beatles more orchestral arrangements.

The ad hoc string quartet on the Paul McCartney song 'Yesterday' consisted of Tony Gilbert (violin), Sidney Sax (violin), Kenneth Essex (viola), Francisco Gabarro (cello) and were part of an over-dubbing session on an earlier performance of the track.

Paul liked it so much that he decided to release a voice-free version with guitar and the wuartet on the Help! album.

And apparently 'Yesterday' has become an encore standby for several string quartets.

Thus one can imagine the appeal for string arrangers--like bees to the hive--to reproduce some studded Beatles tracks (as Lebrecht puts it, they are "mostly hack transcriptions."

But not this one, coming all the way from the Czech Republic and their wonderful string quartet.

Lebrecht makes it his Album of the Week on Sinfini.com

He writes:

"My favourite track is a misty meditation on 'Julia', a lesser-known Lennon-McCartney number. Played at this level of intensity, over four minutes, it could easily have been a movement in a middle-period work by Hindemith or Martinů. You will never hear 'Julia' again without thinking: classical, post-romantic"

"At the other extreme," he continues, "'Here Comes the Sun' gets a treatment that would not have shamed Jimi Hendrix. 'Michelle' opens with Ligeti-like nocturnal rustlings. 'Blackbird' has a real blackbird carolling in the background."

It's a must-listen for Beatle fans of any stripe and even the classical music-goer will find something to sink their teeth in.

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TagsHelp, The Beatles, Norman Lebrecht, Slipped Disc, Tony Gilbert, Sidney Sax, Kenneth Essex, Francisco Gabarro, Sinfini, john lennon, Paul Mccartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison

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